Pop traditionalist Eric Matthews prefers carefully crafted and stylish arrangements (think Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and classical pop) and lightly melodic complements. His stately musical strategy coupled with his breathy voice gives his material a wistful quality and an end-of-summer affection.

In fact, Matthews' work is so finely polished he can't step outside his own shadow. Foundation Sounds , Matthews' fourth solo venture, doesn't show much change from his previous releases. Listeners could easily confuse this self-produced one-man-band project with any other Matthews record. It's all artistic vision without significance, without passion.

If familiarity is all you need, then by all means Foundation Sounds (and the limited edition EP that accompanies some copies) will be the perfect aural wallpaper while doing crossword puzzles or contemplating your navel. For others, some Nick Drake might prove more effective for late-night or lazy Sunday afternoon endeavors.

Grade: B